Naveen, BJD accused of insulting National Flag

Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik and his ruling BJD were accused of insulting the National Flag during celebration of the party`s foundation day here.

Bhubaneswar: Orissa Chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his ruling BJD were on Monday accused of insulting the National Flag during celebration of the party`s foundation day here.

"We received complaints tonight about the alleged incident. But police had so far not registered any case in this connection," Capital Police Station inspector-in-charge (IIC) Rabi Satpathy said.

At least two complaints, lodged by Bhabani Parija of Save Orissa Forum and Dipti Mohanty of Orissa Lok Dal, alleged that disrespect was shown to the tri-colour yesterday by Patnaik and some of his ministers by displaying a "disfigured" national flag at the BJD function.

The incident was related to yesterday`s function where a man from Gadakana village on the outskirts of the capital city, handed over to the chief minister a national flag allegedly bearing name of Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
A conch symbol (The poll symbol of BJD) was also allegedly painted on the national flag by erasing the "Ashok Chakra" placed at middle of the flag, the complaints said.

The man who handed over the flag to the chief minister claimed that it had covered the body of Biju Patnaik before he was cremated at Swarga Dwar in Puri with full state honour.

"I congratulate the man who had preserved the flag that covered Biju Patnaik`s body," Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani had told the gathering yesterday little knowing that the flag code was allegedly insulted in the process.

"It is certainly a national flag and the man had written name of BJD with ink on it. He did it unwittingly," said local MLA Bhagirathi Badjena who felicitated the man to hand over the flag to chief minister.

Opposition parties condemned the incident and demanded action against chief minister for "insulting" the national flag. "It is a punishable offence. Insulting the national flag is condemnable," said BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan.
Main opposition Congress demanded unconditional apology from Patnaik and stern action against all involved under provisions of National Flag Code, 1950.


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